Aetna Deadlines for the End of AEP Enrollments

Aetna Medicare AEP marketing efforts must cease on December 7, 2017 (at the end of AEP). See below for more important dates:

December 7, 2017. All AEP applications for January 1, 2018, effective date must be completed, signed, dated, and received by the agent no later than 11:59 p.m. December 7, 2017. You may not backdate the member signature date, agent receipt date, or agent signature date.

Submit apps within 2 daysAetna must receive signed enrollment applications within two calendar days after you receive them from beneficiaries.

December 9, 2017. Aetna must receive all applications by December 9 to process them for a January 1 effective date.

After AEPIf you receive a completed enrollment application after AEP ends on December 7, do not hold or destroy it. Under CMS rules, you must still submit it to us within two calendar days as noted above. Aetna then will process or deny the enrollment as appropriate.

Reminders About MMO Products Before AEP Ends

See below for a few last minute reminders from MMO as AEP comes to an end.

Competitive Advantage Medicare Advantage:

  • Broad service offering representing 80 of the 88 counties.
  • Many of the common medications are in the MMO MA formulary.
  • Drugs that typically fall in Tiers 3, 4, or 5 with other carriers are Tier 1 and 2 with MMO.
  • Very low maximum out-of-pocket
  • Comprehensive network of facilities and doctors spanning across the state of Ohio. Ability to go to any in-network doctor or hospital regardless of where a member is domiciled.
  • $0 HMO Classic available in Region 1 counties.
  • No referrals or Gatekeepers required.
  • Earn an additional $50 per member.

 

Competitive Advantage Medicare Supplements:

  • Low renewals trending over the last 5 to 7 years with some decreases that have occurred.
  • Competitive rates across all age bands across the entire state of Ohio.
  • One preferred rate for a potential applicant, no male/female, smoker/non-smoker, regional, or other factors when determining a rate.

Contact your Cornerstone representative for more information about MMO products.

How to Prep for After the Enrollment Season

You spent months prepping yourself and your clients for the enrollment season. But do you have a game plan for when it’s all over?

Thank your clients for their business. Ready your portfolio with a stack of “Thank You” cards that will be handwritten and sent out to both loyal and new clients. A simple, thoughtful message expressing your gratitude for their business is a great way to cultivate new professional relationships and ensure long-lasting rapport.

Keep open communication with your clients. After the enrollment season, it’s still important to maintain contact with your clients to ensure that they are happy with their coverage. Consider adding newsletters to your marketing portfolio with health tips, coverage options, basic health care education, industry news, etc.

Evaluate your brand. What marketing tactics worked during this enrollment season? Was your website effectively drawing in prospective clients? Are you happy with your branding? Post-enrollment is the best time to take a look at your brand and make changes that will positively impact the offseason and your next busy season. Create a consistent brand that your clients can trust. Click here to enhance your brand with new marketing pieces.

 

Retention is just as important and prospecting. Put your focus on maintaining your client base after this enrollment season.

5 Tips For Managing Stress This Enrollment Season

The enrollment season is the busiest, and most stressful, time of the year. It’s easy to get caught up in your inbox, your voicemails, paperwork, and more, especially with deadlines looming closer. However, in order to properly take care of your clients and stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to manage your stress.

Keep yourself mentally and physically at the top of your game by following any of the stress management tips below:

  1. Recognize signs of stress and your stressors. Does tackling the mountain of papers on your desk feel like an inconceivable task? Is your desk too disorganized to focus on much else? Are you lacking the tools necessary to help you through the busy season? Take a minute to identify and tackle your stressors so you can learn how to properly manage them.
  2. Set your major priorities at the beginning of the day, leaving room for emergencies. It’s difficult to avoid multitasking with a heavy workload. You find yourself answering emails while trying to accomplish 50 other tasks at the same time. At the beginning of the day, set between 3–5 priorities that you need to accomplish, be it a call to a client, answering an important email, focusing on marketing, etc. But be sure to leave some room for emergencies that may pop up throughout the day. Priorities will sometimes shift, so you want to prepare yourself to manage new priorities as they come along.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take a break. An article from The Atlantic stressed the importance of walking away from your desk throughout the day. The article referenced a study by the DeskTime productivity app which concluded that higher performer workers in the study would work for an average of 52 minutes, followed by a 17-minute break, often away from the computer. This means taking a short walk around the office, speaking with a coworker, stretching, getting a cup of coffee, etc.
  4. Take care of yourself. Get rid of that 3 pm fatigue! Even on your busiest days, be sure that you are eating the proper amount of nutrient-dense foods, focus on gaining as much rest as possible, and remain active. When your body is at its peak, it will run more efficiently to get the job done.
  5. Use the resources and materials available to you. Cornerstone has a number of online resources that are specifically designed to streamline and maximize the efficiency of your business. Check these out here.

ATTENTION OHIO BROKERS: Anthem’s Medicare Supplement Bonus Program for 2018!

Great News for Brokers in Ohio!

The more you sell, the more you earn with Anthem’s Medicare Supplement Sales Bonus Program!

Now YOU have a new opportunity to earn even more on EVERY Medicare Supplement Plan you SELL!

New, short-term incentives have just been announced for brokers who sell Anthem’s Medicare Supplement plans! Don’t miss out on this limited time opportunity to earn more when you sell Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare Supplement plans with 1/1/2018 effective dates!*

 

How Does it Work? 

  • If you sell 3 approved Medicare Supplement policies you’ll receive an additional $100 bonus per sale!
  • But if you sell 5 or more approved Medicare Supplement policies you’ll receive an additional $150 bonus per sale!

EXAMPLE:  If you sell 3 Medicare Supplement policy in a month with a qualifying effective date of 1/1/2018 you’ll earn a $300 bonus (3× $100)! But if you sell 5 plan policies, you’ll earn $750 (5× $150)!

 

Program Rules:

  • All per sale bonus amounts are in addition to the standard broker compensation.

 

Your current and prospective clients can benefit from these money-saving options on every Anthem plan:

  • A 5% discount on each policy if there is more than one Medicare Supplement policy written in a household with a coverage date of June 1,2010 or after.
  • Receive $2 off their monthly premium simply by enrolling in automatic electronic premium payments—a savings of $24 annually. Save $48 by paying their premium for the entire year.
  • There’s even greater savings for your clients when you help them combine discounts (based on eligibility).

 

While your clients are saving money, they can also stay healthy by taking advantage of the SilverSneakers Fitness Program, which offers eligible Modernized Anthem Medicare Supplement members a Basic Membership with access to over 13,000 locations nationwide—at no extra cost!**

So don’t wait!  It’s time to take advantage of this limited time opportunity to make more money selling Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Plans!

 

Questions? Contact your Cornerstone representative today.


* Incentive is limited to new enrollees only-and based upon approval of the policy. All incentives will be paid within ninety days of the end of the bonus period. Anthem reserves the right to make all rules and determinations regarding the bonus program, and may modify or eliminate the program at any time without notice.  For more detailed information on the bonus program, please contact your Regional Sales Manager.

**SilverSneakers is a value-added program. It is not insurance and not part of the Medicare Supplement insurance plans. It can be changed or withdrawn at any time.

 

Individual Market Referral Program Update

Close-up of female and male handshaking over workplace with business documents

On November 2, 2017, Cornerstone released an email relaying Medical Mutual’s decision to manage all MMO sales and service support for their in-force Individual policies starting on January 1, 2018. This decision includes MMO policies with a January 1, 2018, effective date.

In response to several inquiries regarding this update, Cornerstone would like to confirm that this change does not, in any way, affect our referral program. We continue to accept individual referrals and will quote and process enrollments with products available from all our carrier partners, including Medical Mutual.

It is an extremely busy time of the year and we are available to provide you with the help and support you need. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Cornerstone representative with any questions you may have.


About Cornerstone’s Referral Program

Not looking to write Individual business? Refer your clients to Cornerstone where our experts will provide a service and resource platform that ensures they receive the proper support for all things benefit related. Plus, receive lifetime commissions for as long as the member is in force.

 

Contact your local Cornerstone representative for more information about this very beneficial program.

Exploring ACA Alternatives

Gregg Amato

Gregg Amato | Director of Employee Benefits (Cleveland)

Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many small group employers and brokers alike have experienced constant change and confusion. Premiums continue to rise and many feel there are limited options available to them. Small groups with fewer than 50 employers are not mandated to provide health insurance, but many would like to offer it as a way to fill full-time positions and attract talented employees. Before health care reform, health insurers were allowed to rate up or charge higher premiums to small groups based on their medical history, age, and gender. This made it difficult for unhealthy groups to find affordable coverage.

Healthcare.gov defines community rating as: “A rule that prevents health insurers from varying premiums without a geographic area based on age, gender, health status, or other factors.” Community rating means that all enrollees pay the same premium amount regardless of their health status. The cost is pooled or spread out over a large number of insured people. For groups with fewer than 50 employees, ACA community rating benefitted some and hurt others. Small groups with multiple health conditions or an aging population benefitted from lower rates, while younger healthier groups pay more.

Under ACA guidelines, the “Adjusted Community Rating” methodology is being used. Health insurers aren’t allowed to charge higher premiums based on health conditions, medical claims, or gender. However, they are allowed to charge higher premiums based on the number of employees enrolled in the plan and where the group is located within areas that have higher costs of care. Insurers can consider an employee’s age and whether they use tobacco products. The age ratio of 3:1 means that an older adult cannot be charged more than three times the rate of a younger adult. The tobacco ratio of 1.5:1 means that a person using tobacco cannot be charged more than 1.5 times the non-tobacco user rate.

The ACA’s Health Insurance Tax is due to return in 2018 and threatens to increase already high insurance premiums even more. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), “The health insurance tax (HIT) is a $100 billion+ tax on health coverage for individuals, small businesses, seniors, states, and tax payers. For example families in the small-employer market could see their premiums go up an additional $7,000 over the next 10 years because of this tax. AHIP will continue to push for a full repeal of the health insurance tax because it makes health care less affordable for the very people who need the most help affording health care.”

ACA-compliant plans are fully insured plans. All the risk is passed on to the insurance carrier. These small group plans offer a wide variety of plan designs that can benefit the small employer, however many factors continue to threaten additional premium hikes in the upcoming years. Small business owners are faced with controlling their costs. It’s not surprising that over half of small group employers do not offer health insurance coverage. As ACA premiums continue to rise, so does the need for ACA alternatives. When ACA plans arrived, small employers were allowed to keep their coverage with only minor changes to their plan or risked losing their transitional (grand-mothered status). Now, as these small group employers consider moving to ACA plans, some may see a premium reduction, while others will see significant increases. The employer groups that can’t find a reduction will stay on their transitional plans to avoid ACA as long as possible. However, with transitional plans soon to expire, employers need alternative options.

Level-Funding Options

Many of the health insurers have already provided alternatives to ACA plans and are currently available to small businesses. Historically, self-funding has been a viable option for large group employer with 100 or more employees. The introduction of level-funding has created an alternative for groups in the small group market. Level-funded plans are self-insured plans with predictable premiums and are available to groups down to 10 employees. These plans have a low specific attachment point. The healthier groups usually receive the more attractive rates since they are medically underwritten. Groups that select a level-funded product option will have level or fixed monthly premiums. To be considered for coverage, groups must be healthy and approved by the underwriters. Lower risk groups may pay premium rates lower than ACA rates, while higher risk groups will pay premium rates higher than ACA rates. Many of the small groups that qualify for level-funding options will not be familiar with the concept and will rely heavily on their broker for expertise.

Level-Funding Cost components:

  • Administrative Expenses
  • Stop loss (Specific and Aggregate)
  • Claims fund (paid by the level-funded entity). At the end of the coverage period, a shared savings opportunity exists for groups with claims surplus.

At renewal and if the group had a low claims year, there should be minimal rate increase. In a bad claims year, the employer never has to pay more than the level premium amount because the stop loss coverage protects them. However, they should expect to see a rate increase and now have the option of moving to a community-rated ACA plan if premium savings exists.

Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWA)

A Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) is another popular alternative to ACA plans. MEWAs were created several years ago and can benefit small groups down to two employees. They are a self-funded insurance plan where multiple employers pool their financial resources and share their risk. MEWAs are member-owned profits that stay within the group and can be dispersed among the member companies. Much like the level funding, employer groups must qualify medically.

Typically a board of trustees is formed to manage the MEWA, enabling greater flexibility in selecting plan designs and meeting the overall needs of the group. MEWAs can implement programs that promote wellness and can save overall claims costs of the group, which ultimately lower premiums. Since the group is in control within the MEWA, there is increased stability and lower tax rates for the member companies that don’t exist with fully insured plans.

Small group employers, along with their brokers, are facing a dilemma. Many employers want to offer coverage for their employees while attracting talented future employees. Premiums are on the rise and options were limited, but adversity breeds solutions. The insurance industry has answered and created alternatives for the small group market by providing level funding and MEWA plans.

Please contact your Cornerstone sales representative to learn more about our partner carriers that offer MEWA and level funded alternatives now available to your small group clients.

Open Enrollment is Here! Are You Prepared?

This year’s Open Enrollment began November 1, 2017, and runs through December 15, 2017. Are you prepared with the right resources? Cornerstone’s tools and resources are designed to help you streamline your business throughout the busy season and beyond. Be sure to check out the resources that are available to you throughout the year:

 

Broker Centric

Broker Centric is your one-stop shop for carrier and Cornerstone knowledge base resources and customizable marketing materials. This repository offers carrier-specific guides, certification processes, forms, checklists, training tutorials, and appointment standards, sorted by line of business, as well as a catalog of customizable marketing materials and promotional items that are available at the click of a button.

Quoting Tools

Save valuable time with any of Cornerstone’s quoting resources, including the Medicare quoting tool which enables you to run customized quotes for leading plans in the senior market. Quoting tools and resources are available for Senior, Group, and Individual business.

RockEnroll Group Medical Underwriting Tool

Powered by FormFire technology, RockEnroll is a paperless e-signature prescreen and enrollment tool that eliminates the paper chase and upgrades client communication and services. Gain an advantage over the competition by increasing opportunities to sell instead of spending valuable time tracking down missing information.

Referral Program

Don’t have the time or resources to manage your client overflow? Cornerstone’s referral program can help! Refer your overflow to Cornerstone and our experts will provide a service and resource platform for your clients, ensuring that they receive the proper support for all things benefit related. Earn money and save time. It’s that simple!

 

Questions? Contact your Cornerstone representative for answers!

Dental Care Plus Group New Auto-Renewal Process for Shelf Rate Groups

Beginning with March 2018 effective dates, Dental Care Plus Group shelf rate dental plans will automatically renew on the group’s renewal effective date. This means:

  • Shelf rate groups that want to keep their current plan do not need to take any action other than pay the new premium when it is due.
  • Groups that want to make a change to their plan must contact their broker or DCPG by the 10th of the month prior to the renewal date in order to ensure their next invoice reflects the appropriate rates.
  • There is no change to the renewal process for non-shelf rate groups.

 

To learn more, click here.

Aetna Updates: SOA Submissions, Star Rating Information, and AOR Retention Policy

2018 Star Ratings Documents Now Available: Review with Beneficiaries

CMS requires you to review the 2018 star ratings document with beneficiaries when presenting Aetna and Coventry Individual Medicare plans (MA/MAPD, PDP). It’s your responsibility to swap out the 2017 star ratings page, which appears on yellow paper, with the new 2018 star ratings document, by November 1.

Here’s how to get 2018 star ratings documents online:

  • Just go to com/brokersor Coventry-Medicare.com/brokers.
  • Scroll down and click “Find Plan Documents.”
  • Once there, use the dropdown menus to select a specific state, county and plan, and then download and print 2018 star ratings documents.

The 2018 star rating page will be included in any new enrollment kits you order as of October 25.

 

Medicare Agent of Record (AOR) Retention Policy

Aetna’s AOR retention policy helps ensure you earn commission for helping your existing clients change plans. Here’s how it works:

If a member calls Aetna telesales… 

 

Reminder About Scope of Appointment Forms

If using a paper Scope of Appointment (SOA) form, be sure to submit it with paper enrollment forms

Don’t forget to attach the paper SOA form to all signed paper enrollment forms. Please submit the completed SOA and  enrollment forms together within two calendar days of when you receive them from the beneficiary. Be sure to review all of the requirements for submitting 2018 SOA forms.